Super KO Boxing 2

BEST BOXING GAME ON THE APP STORE!!
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Super KO Boxing 2 Hands-On

Big Gip sways back and forth, his moustache a-twitchin’. We’re mesmerized by this grotesque, shirtless hillbilly, with his dreadfully low-hanging shorts and mountainous belly. Oh God, make him go away! Since he’s our first opponent, though, he provides almost no challenge. A few one-two combos and uppercuts later, he’s on the mat and we’re on to the next crazy opponent.

Super KO Boxing 2 follows a formula that most gamers will recognize from the Nintendo Punch-Out series. Huge, beautifully animated (if sometimes disgustingly detailed) characters will loom large over your tiny boxer, the K.O. Kid. With a combination of body shots, head shots, dodges, blocks, and special uppercuts, you can wear down your opponent’s health and send the ref counting ten over their dizzied, spinning heads.

This series, which debuted on cellphones, is now coming to the iPhone with no new motion control, but plenty of graphical shine to make up for it. The build we played had us tapping our opponent to punch, but this does notably get in the way of the stellar graphics and animation, which also provide clues as to when your opponent is about to strike. So, we understand that an alternate control scheme, with buttons off to the side, is in the works.

It’s a good thing the controls are getting ironed out, because Super KO Boxing 2 has a knack for increasing the difficulty substantially as you progress through the rounds. An opponent like Big Gip is an easy target, but he’ll come back later (decked out in a Viking, police, and devil outfit) with renewed toughness. Overall, there are twelve different opponents in the game, some with multiple costumes and difficulties.

Another opponent we fought was 15 Cent, a blinged-out rapper that made his debut in the last KO Boxing Game. During the fight, you could see his crib in the background, decked out with giant speakers, a hot tub, and a massive portrait of himself with a tiger. His specialty punch is a backhand, or “bitch” slap.

The third opponent we saw is a huge, hairy caveman, still unnamed. Glu is actually holding a contest to name this character, which you can enter through their Facebook page.

Besides fighting tough guys like Big Gip and 15 Cent in the championship circuits, you can also unlock a special Challenge mode that has unusual requirements, like no dodging or blocking. Having played the previous games, we know that these let you really focus on the specific movement and attack patterns of each opponent, instead of mashing your fists into their face as fast as you can. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to try any challenge fights in the current version.

Super KO Boxing 2 also includes an endurance mode, where you face a string of opponents without regaining your health back, and a versus mode, where you can jump to any fighter you’ve already unlocked. With only one playable character (the KO Kid) and no multiplayer options, some might dismiss Super KO Boxing 2 as too narrowly focused. However, from our time in the ring, we think that this cartoony boxing game is coming along quite nicely. Look for it on the App Store in September.

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Reviews

Super KO Boxing 2 Review

The first thing you’ll notice about Super KO Boxing 2 is that it has character. And characters! 12 of them, to be precise, although a few are just variations on the same character (Gip the farmer and Bigger Gip the Viking being examples). Although they’re pretty stereotypical, each character is animated in great detail, and bobbing and weaving as you slug away is quite satisfying.

Touch controls are available for juking from left to right, blocking, high to low punches, and a charge attack that requires energy built up in a meter. Juking to the side as you punch will throw some quick hooks into the opponent’s mug. Taunting is done by tapping your character, and while this leaves you open for a hit it will boost your charge meter and often provoke the enemy into an attack.

Caveman gut punch.

In the early match-ups, opponents are nothing more than glorified punching bags, but as you progress they put up more of a fight. Strategy becomes a necessity with Chief, the fifth opponent, who makes no effort to strike you but will counter any punch you throw at him. Taunting is key here, followed by a quick juke as the Chief retaliates in anger, leaving himself open for a few quick hits. These changes in strategy are appreciated, although sometimes it feels like the game is taking things a bit too far.

Some characters, for instance, will be completely invincible as they charge a devastating attack, countering any punch you throw at them. During these moments, your only option is to wait for them to strike and be quick on the juke button, and we often found ourselves juking from one side to the other frantically hoping the attack wouldn’t land once it came. Unfortunately, these attacks do massive amounts of damage and often feel impossible to dodge. This can lead to some frustrating battles later on in the game.

Adding to the sometimes unfair feel of the game is the scoring system. Every time we made it to the end of a fight without a knockout occurring, we were informed that we had lost by decision, even when we had knocked down the enemy more times that we had been knocked down ourselves (all the while landing many, many more punches than the opponent). After surviving a frustrating nine minute battle, this can feel like the ultimate punch to the face. Luckily, the game usually allows you to start over from the third and final round if you restart the app and select to continue where you left off.

Aah! It burns!

Although it certainly isn’t easy to knock out all the competition on your way to boxing glory, the difficulty isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Beloved games like Punch-Out! on the NES were notorious for their difficulty, and Super KO Boxing 2 is heavily inspired by that title and its sequels. Just like in Punch-Out!, it can be pretty satisfying to figure out the openings in your opponents’ defense.

Aside from the main Circuits mode described above, there is a Versus mode that allows you to take on previously defeated opponents whenever you’d like and a Challenge mode that forces strict requirements upon you. In one, you’ll be asked to beat the opponent into a T.K.O. without being struck a single time. In another, you won’t be able to dodge, block attacks or pick yourself up if knocked to the floor. We found the Versus mode nice, if somewhat worthless, but the Challenge mode is a welcome addition that adds quite a bit to the game.

Overall, Super KO Boxing 2 is a very well-made arcade boxing game in the vein of classic titles like Punch-Out!, as opposed to the more realistic approach taken by the Fight Night games on consoles and App Store competition like Touch KO. For that, we recommend it to those who aren’t afraid of a challenge.